Please note that the training course will be delivered at a different location on the 16 May and 17 May
Date: 16 May 2018 (10 – 5 pm)
Location: BMS Conference room, Alfred Denny Building;
Date: 17 May 2018 (10 – 5 pm)
Location: Ron Johnson Research room, Department of Geography building, Winter St, Sheffield S3 7ND
PhD Student Media Training Course Outline
By the end of this course, delegates will have learned the basics of communicating with journalists and other
non-specialists. They will have produced a piece of work, in the form of a draft press release, that can form the
basis of future outreach work or interactions with the media. They will have had the opportunity to practice their
skills in a radio interview exercise.
Each student will attend only one day.
Course Outline (Programme) TBC
- Introductions and aims. Brainstorm: why bother with the media? Opportunities and pitfalls.
- Fundamental principles of communicating your research to non-specialists.
- Making you science accessible: key principles of popular style structure.
- News In Brief case study: the quintessence of effective communication and news writing.
- Exercise: study a research paper abstract. How would you restructure it into a popular-style article?
- How to inspire an audience and show why your research matters. Using lively language and avoiding jargon.
- Exercise: write a short press release about your project.
- How science hits the headlines: a day in the life of a science journalist, how science reaches the news.
- Press releases, embargoes and the role of the press office.
- Best practice when dealing with the media: a case study of how and why a science story was misreported.
- What makes science newsworthy? “News values” and editorial angles. A case study of how different
newspapers reported the same science story differently.
- Editorial meeting exercise: students break out into groups of 4 or 5. Each group role plays an editorial meeting
at a different newspaper or science magazine. Groups report back with their stories and headlines.
- Oral communication and broadcast media basics: How oral communication differs from the written word.
- Requirements for radio/ podcast interviews.
- Simulated “roving reporter” group radio interviews.
- Final discussion and END
Trainer: Dr Jon Copley
Jon is the Chairman of SciConnect, Associate Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of Southampton,
and an alumnus of APS at the University of Sheffield. As a scientist, he has established a program of public
engagement that has been highlighted by RCUK as an example of “best practice” in generating impact from
research. His deep-sea research routinely makes the headlines, and he has given more than 100 media
interviews about his team’s work since 2008. Jon is also a former reporter and news editor at New Scientist